Sunday, February 26, 2006

Long Shadows

The other day I was going through my wine "stash" and realized how fortunate I am. Fortunate for many reasons, of course. Fortunate, in that I have some "wine angels" that look after me. Wine Angels? Wine angels are benefactors that bring me wine that they think I would enjoy or curious about what my tastebuds think. All wine enthusiasts needs to have a few wine angels like that on their shoulder.

One of my angels is affiliated with the Long Shadows group. I feel truly blessed they share their personal wine from their cellar with me, since Long Shadows wine is not easy to come by. Allen Shoup, a leader in enology and viticulture in the state of Washington and former CEO with the Ste. Michelle group, formed the Long Shadows Winery. His vision for Long Shadows was to "collect" world class winemakers to create premium wines from every sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley under the Long Shadows label. And as I understand, the wines are made in the Walla Walla Valley.

In my stash, I have had two bottles of Poet's Leap Riesling. A 2003 that I shared with friends and a 2004 that I am going to cling onto for a bit. As you know, Riesling is one of the greatest wines of Germany and these particular vintages were crafted by Armin Diel, proprietor of the renowned Schlossgut Diel. The 2003 was heady with tropical fruits and flavor of apricot nectar. Even diesel was spotted in the flavor, which is often typical of aged old world fine Rieslings.

I located three bottles of Pirouette, so I opened up a bottle last night. A interesting varietal composition of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot,10% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Made by Napa Valley legends Philippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus, this blend had a wonderful nose of cherry, almonds, and vanilla. Blackberry, licorice flavors, well structured tannins and acidity, with a long cocoa finish. This wine will age beautifully for about 10 years.

A bottle of Chester-Kidder was shared during a family get-together. A unique blend of 47% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon,19% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Franc that was named after Shoup's grandparents. It was a very aromatic wine with concentrated dark fruit. The perfect wine to complement food. Chester-Kidder was created by Shoup and Gilles Nicault. A native of France, Nicault studied his craft in the vineyards and wineries of Cote Du Rhone, Provence and Champagne. He left France to visit Eastern Washington to see for himself if the rumors about this outstanding region was true. It must have shown truth to Nicault as he hasn't left. Formerly a winemaker for Staton Hills in Yakima, Hogue and most recent, he was winemaker at Woodward Canyon for 6 years before joining Long Shadows.

Last, but not least I discovered a bottle of Sequel. Sequel is a proprietor's name to describe their Syrah. Prestigious winemaker John Duval, who hails from Australia, is best known for his Shiraz from the Penfold's Grange label. Duval produced small lots of some of the finest Columbia Valley's sub-appellation grapes so he could claim the finest Syrah for this 2003 vintage. There is no doubt in my mind that when I decide to lift the cork from this bottle, it will make me S_W_O_O_N!

Thank you angels.

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